Plankton And Climate Change

It is well known that physical forcing, through changes in climatic conditions, has a great influence on planktonic assemblages. Phytoplankton has a major role in the recycling of global CO2. For this reason, anything deleterious that happens to phytoplankton will have a cascade effect through the entire food chain. Pelagic ecosystems are well known for trophic cascades and it is generally assumed that nutrient supply and subsequent growth of phytoplankton will result in 'bottom-up' control of the whole food chain. Top-down effects are also possible where predators remove zooplankton grazers, relieving grazing pressure on phytoplankton and resulting in an increase in phytoplankton biomass. Changes can happen very quickly in the plankton. Long term plankton records in the northern hemisphere have demonstrated that the warming of waters has resulted in substantial changes in planktonic assemblages and there is great concern how this will affect higher trophic groups and the survival of larval forms. The impact of global change on plankton of the GBR will be greatest due to changes in conditions that include: temperature, availability of nutrients (e.g. upwelling and runoff) and change in pH (that can affect plankton with carbonate skeletons; i.e. coccolithophores). On the GBR, it is expected that changes over the next 50 years are likely to be patchy by region (e.g. central section v. southern section).

ADDITIONAL READING Biological oceanography

Furnas, M. J., and Mitchell, A. W. (1996). Nutrient inputs to the central Great Barrier Reef (Australia) from subsurface intrusions of Coral Sea waters: a two dimensional displacement model. Continental Shelf Research 16, 1127-1148.

Genin, A. (2004). Biophysical coupling in the formation of zooplankton and fish aggregations over abrupt topographies. Journal of Marine Systems 50, 3-20.

Mann, K. H., and Lazier, J. R. N. (2003). 'Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems: Biological-physical Interactions in the Ocean.' (Blackwell: Oxford.)

Identification of plankton

Boltovskoy, D. (1999). 'South Atlantic Zooplankton.' (Backhuys Publishers: Leiden.)

Dakin, W. J., and Colefax, A. N. (1940). 'The Plankton of the Australian Coastal Waters off New South Wales. Part I.' (Australian Publishing Company Ltd: Sydney.)

Graham, L. E., and Wilcox, L. W. (2000). 'Algae.' (Prentice Hall: New Jersey.)

Leis, J. M., and Carson-Ewart, M. (2000). 'The Larvae of Indo-Pacific Coastal Fishes.' (Brill: Leiden.)

Newell, G. E., and Newell, R. C. (1977). 'Marine Plankton: A Practical Guide.' (Hutchinson: Essex.)

Todd, C. D., and Laverick, M. S. (1991). 'Coastal Marine Zooplankton: A Practical Guide for Students.' (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.)

Ecology and behaviour of plankton

Johnson, J. M., and Marshall, P. (2007). 'Climate Change and the Great Barrier Reef.' (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority: Townsville, Queensland.)

Kingsford, M. J., and Murdoch, R. (1998). Planktonic assemblages. In 'Studying Temperate Marine Environments: A Handbook for Ecologists'. (Eds. M. J. Kingsford and C. N. Battershill.) pp 227-268. (Canterbury University Press: Christchurch.)

McKinnon, A. D., Duggan, S., and De'ath, G. (2005). Mesozooplankton dynamics in inshore waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 63, 497-511.

Reynolds, C. S. (2006). 'Ecology of Phytoplankton.' (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.)

See web site for an extended list, with updates: http://www.australiancoralreefsociety.org/ [Verified 22 February 2008].

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